With schools winding down and the sun well & truly out, it’s time for many to pack their cases for that summer holiday!
You’d be surprised how many last minute panic calls we get from people desperate to see a physio before their holiday to have some help with their injury. So if you are carrying an injury and want to go away injury free so you can fully enjoy your holiday, get in touch now. Recovery can take time and you don’t want to be one of those people who say “I’ve had this months, I should have come sooner.” Which we hear all too often.
Holidays should be a time to relax and unwind. But the stress of packing and travelling can put holidaymakers at risk of picking up strains and sprains before they even hit the beach!
“Holidays are about unwinding from all the stresses and strains of everyday life and undoing the sometimes harm we do to ourselves through the rest of the year,” goPhysio’s Clinical Director Paul says.
But “having to contend with masses to organise and a lengthy journey can often lead to awkward postures and doing things our bodies aren’t used to doing, which might cause or aggravate physical problems. Common holiday-related problems include back and neck injuries, as well as shoulder and wrist strains.”
“We forget we’re doing something out of the ordinary and that could include sitting for hours in cramped seats, queuing and lifting heavy bags. All that combined with high stress levels could mean putting our bodies under physical stresses we’re not accustomed to.”
“Even the most simple holiday pleasures can create discomfort. For example, just going for a walk along the beach with bare feet or in the wrong footwear can lead to inflammation and pain in your knees, calves or feet, through over-stretched tendons and ligaments,” Paul says.
There are simple ways to avoid injury when doing activities that are not part of your usual every day routine.
Here’s some simple tips to avoid holiday injuries this year.
Packing a bag: Place your bag on a higher surface such as a bed, to avoid repeatedly bending over to pack. Break up your packing over a few weeks or days, so you’re spreading the preparation out and not rushing to do it quickly at the last minute, doing many repeated movements in a short space of time, which the body often doesn’t like.
Managing luggage: If you’re not used to lifting heavy items or your case is large or awkward, lift it with care. You can find yourself lifting a case many times on a journey (in/out of car boot, on/off luggage trolley, on/off check in and carousel etc.) which can take its’ toll. People often think of back problems associated with lifting, but we also see many people with wrist or shoulder injuries from travelling, having carted luggage and bags around. Minimise the amount of lifting you do as much as possible, choosing a case with wheels and not overpacking! If you’re travelling as part of a family, spread the load so you have more cases, with less weight in each. Try and choose light weight cases too, to lessen the burden. If you are lifting, use your powerful leg muscles to take much of the weight and keep the weight of the case close to your body – this just helps to minimise too much stress.
Standing in queues: There can be a lot of queuing when travelling. Use this opportunity to do some exercises! When standing and waiting, practise good posture. Stand up straight, with your tummy muscles pulled in and shoulders back and down. If you are standing for a very long time, stand as tall as possible and transfer weight from one leg to another to boost your circulation. Try some heel raises – going up and down on your tip toes, or mini squats. Circling your shoulders forwards and back and doing some neck stretches to ease any built up tension, can be good too.
Travelling: As well as standing in queues, you can spend a lot of time sitting down when traveling. When seated, try to sit with your buttocks pushed to the back of the seat. Make sure your lower back is well supported and you are not slumped. You can always take a small towel or lumbar roll with you if you like to have back support. If you are driving, ensure your position is as supported as possible and move the seat to make yourself comfortable. If you’re taking on a very long drive, read our guide to ‘Steering Clear of pain’ when driving. Whenever possible, break up your journey or get out of your seat and have a good walk around.
Holiday activities: Holiday’s can often be a chance to try out a new activity – whether it’s beach volleyball, extra long hikes, mountain climbing or surfing! If you’re trying something physical that’s out of the ordinary for you, start off gradually. Don’t go straight in 100% – especially if you’ve spent the last 6 months sat at a desk and the last 10 hours travelling! Having time to spend being more active is fantastic, but you don’t want to overdo it and pickup injury to spoil your holiday. Listen to your body and warm up for your activity suitably. Pace yourself and make sure you get time to rest in between too!
Most of all, whatever you have planned for this summer, enjoy yourself! If you can make some time for you and some rest and relaxation, away from the fast paced life so many of us now live.
If you do want to have an injury or niggle checked out before you go away, so you can really make the most of your time off – book in to see one of our Physio’s. Or maybe have a deep tissue sports massage before you go, so you start your holiday relaxed and tension free!
If you do pick up a holiday injury, you can book in to get sorted as soon as you return by using our easy and secure online booking system, available to you anywhere in the world 24/7 to book physiotherapy and massage appointments.